Eagles

How long has it been since Eagles' secondary was healthy?

How long has it been since Eagles' secondary was healthy?

Jalen Mills was thinking back, trying to remember the last time the Eagles had their full secondary together.

It had to be Jacksonville last year, right? Before I got hurt?” he said. “No wait. Rodney (McLeod) got hurt Week 3. Has to be the Colts game, right? That’s when Rod got hurt. He got hurt Week 3, I got hurt Week 8, (Ronald) Darby got hurt Week 9. We haven’t all played together since the Colts game.

Bingo.

It’s been more than 13 months since the Eagles had a healthy secondary.

They’ve played 23 consecutive games with one of their starters missing.

At least one of their starters.

On Sunday, when the Eagles face the Bears at the Linc, the band will finally be back together.

I just think it’s always good to have your best guys out there,” Malcolm Jenkins said. “And those guys, they’ve battled for us, they give us a lot of flexibility on defense, so it’s good to have those guys back out there. It’s been a while since we had the real full group out there. So I think it’s exciting because at this point in the season we need it.

Since McLeod’s knee injury against the Colts started this unbelievable avalanche of secondary injuries, the Eagles have used 18 different starting lineups and 16 different starting defensive backs.

In 23 games.

They haven’t used the same starting secondary more than two games in a row during that span.

But with Mills and Darby at corner, McLeod and Jenkins at safety and Avonte Maddox expected to be avalable to play in the slot, the Eagles are finally at full strength.

It is a good feeling,” McLeod said. “It’s been a long time coming since we’ve all been out there. We shared a lot of moments together, been in a lot of battles with one another and the bond and the familiarity is there. It’s good to have all of us back healthy first and foremost to be able to help out this defense and help out this team. It’s crazy that it’s been a year and a half since we all touched the field together. It’s such a good feeling.

Mills made his 2019 debut in Dallas, Darby returned from a four-game layoff Sunday in Buffalo and this Sunday at the Linc Maddox should be back for the Bears after missing four games.

Cre’Von LeBlanc, the slot in the postseason last year, is the only remaining injured defensive back. He’s been out since suffering a foot injury early in training camp and won’t be back any time soon.

It was the quartet of McLeod, Jenkins, Darby and Mills — along with slot Patrick Robinson — that was in place during the Super Bowl run two years ago.

We’ve got that chemistry,” Mills said. “We’ve played on the big stage together. Then you add Avonte, who’s so versatile, can play corner, nickel or safety, and it’s definitely a comfort level having us all together. It makes a difference.

Of that group, only Jenkins has started more than 13 games over the last two years. Only Jenkins and Rasul Douglas haven’t missed multiple games with injuries.

The rash of defensive back injuries over the last two years has been unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.

McLeod, Mills, Darby, Maddox and Sidney Jones have missed a combined 62 games over the last two years.

It’s left the Eagles with guys like De’Vante Bausby, Chandon Sullivan, Jonathan Cyprien, Dexter McDougle, Tre Sullivan, Josh Hawkins and of course Orlando Scandrick playing meaningful reps.

Now they’re all back. No more excuses. They need to play like the big-time secondary we saw two years ago.

Here’s a look at the 18 different starting secondaries the Eagles have used since last year began:

3    Maddox / Douglas / LeBlanc / Jenkins / Graham 
2    Darby / Mills / Jenkins / McLeod
2    Darby / Mills / Jenkins / Maddox
2    Jones / Douglas / LeBlanc / Jenkins / Graham
2    Maddox / Douglas / Jenkins / Graham 
2    Darby / Jones / Maddox / Jenkins / McLeod
2    Douglas / Jones / Sendejo / Jenkins / McLeod
1    Darby / Mills / Graham / Jenkins / McLeod
1    Darby / Mills / Jenkins / Graham
1    Darby / Mills / Jones / Jenkins / Maddox
1    Darby / Mills / McDougle / Jenkins / Maddox
1    Darby / Douglas / Maddox / Jenkins / T. Sullivan
1    Jones / Douglas / Maddox / Jenkins / Graham
1    C. Sullivan / Bausby / Jenkins / Graham
1    Darby / Douglas / Maddox / Jenkins / McLeod
1    Douglas / James / Jenkins / McLeod
1    Douglas / Mills / Scandrick / Jenkins / McLeod
1    Darby / Mills / Jenkins / McLeod

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5-year-old Eagles impersonator gets Boston Scott's stamp of approval

usa-040420-boston-scott-kid.jpg
USA Today Sports Images/@SirRobin83/Twitter

5-year-old Eagles impersonator gets Boston Scott's stamp of approval

With professional sports on pause around the world, fans are looking for anything - video games, simulations, classic games - to satisfy that live sports itch.

We may have found the ultimate placeholder: a five-year-old imitating Boston Scott's infamous spin-o-rama.

On Saturday afternoon, Twitter user Robin Stanley tagged Scott in a quick video of his son, Beckett, pretending to be the Eagles running back:

I mean, c'mon: the likeness to Scott's spin move against the Giants is kind of uncanny.

In case you need to jog your memory, here is Scott's spin:

Scott, of course, made fun of himself for the move at the time, admitting that when he saw the clip after the game, it "looked pretty silly".

I'd say Beckett's spin had a little more swag.

Stanley's dad, a Philly native, told NBC Sports Philadelphia his son was expecting to play his first season of flag football this spring down in Nashville, but the league was postponed because of social distancing mandates, so he's making do.

On Saturday, Scott saw Stanley's video and gave the little man a nod of approval:

That's just good, clean fun. Thank you, Beckett, for the sports-related smile.

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Rodney McLeod explains biggest lessons learned from Malcolm Jenkins

Rodney McLeod explains biggest lessons learned from Malcolm Jenkins

Four years ago, when Rodney McLeod became a free agent for the first time in his NFL career, one of the reasons he wanted to join the Eagles was for the chance to play next to Malcolm Jenkins. 

And for the last four years, he did. The two formed a safety tandem that played 49 regular season games and four playoff games, including Super Bowl LII, together. 

But now Jenkins is back in New Orleans with the Saints and the Eagles are preparing to play without him for the first time since 2013. Meanwhile, McLeod signed a two-year deal to return to Philly. 

On a conference call with reporters on Thursday, McLeod said he learned a lot from Jenkins over the past four seasons. 

What were some of those lessons? 

Just as a competitor,” McLeod said. “And then the ability to get the most out of guys, whether it’s on the defensive side or from an entire team standpoint. I think as a leader, that’s your kind of job. How can you get guys to play at the highest level and get the most out of your players. I think he was one of the best at doing that and understanding everyone … I learned a lot from him. 

“Not just on the field but off the field, the way he handled himself and what he did in the community for the city. I’ll always admire him. It’s hard to match. But like I said, his legacy will live on. The Saints are getting a good guy. Now, us as Eagles, playing with a new group of guys and we’re ready to move forward.

There’s no question that the Eagles are going to miss Jenkins’ contributions on the field. They will use some combination of Jalen Mills and Will Parks to replace him at that position and that won’t be easy. 

But the Eagles will also miss the leadership Jenkins brought to the locker room. He wasn’t just the leader of the secondary or even just the defense; Jenkins was oftentimes the key leader for the entire team. That’s hard to replace too. 

It’s not that McLeod, 29, hasn’t been a leader during his first four years in Philly. But now that role might need to expand and will become more important with the absence of Jenkins. 

“I think it’s important for me to be myself and be who I’ve always been,” McLeod said. “And that’s a guy that leads by his actions and leads by example. I think if you ask a lot of guys on the team, that’s what they’ll tell you most. Actions sometimes speak louder than words. I think there will be times for me to speak up when needed. When my teammates need me most, I’ll be ready to do that.”

For the most part, McLeod has been the quieter of the two safeties and Jim Schwartz has previously called him the calming presence in the defensive backfield.

But McLeod can speak up too. 

It’s really just about finding a balance between his two sides and putting the lessons from Jenkins into practice in 2020. 

“Myself, being a leader on this team for some time, will of course be asked to step up as well as other guys from a defensive standpoint and on the team,” McLeod said. “I think we’re prepared for that. And guys will be willing to step up to the plate and accept the challenge. Myself first and foremost.”

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